My Summer as a Champion

Posted by Nelson Weston on

Time sure flies, but memories and adult influences last forever.  Today, at 24 years old I still cherish my memories of the camp where I spent my summers until the age of thirteen. Summer camp was not only a time to enjoy life, but it instilled in me the values of teamwork, leadership, dedication and friendship.  These values didn’t come by accident, they were modeled and supported by my camp counselors. Although, at the time I never realized it, I can proclaim those counselors as my champions. I had no idea that roughly a decade later, I would be in their exact same position and become a champion to someone else. 


During the summer of 2013, I worked as a counselor at the same camp where I was a camper.  Since I had left, the daily activities were very much the same; arts n’ crafts, watching movies, indoor and outdoor sports activities, guest speakers and field trips.  And, as when I was there, the pool was the highlight of a camper’s day.  This year was no different.  Though as a counselor, my priorities shifted as we had several kids who did not know how to swim. At the beginning of each week, when it came time for swimming, they would be given the opportunity to pass a swim test to be allowed in the deep end of the pool. Fortunately, nearly all of the kids passed during the early part of the summer. Unfortunately, every week one girl in particular would fail. Despite continued instruction, motivation, and encouragement that I and other counselors provided, she struggled to pass the test. However, we never gave up on her, even as the summer progressed and her attempts seemed futile. Due to our steady show of support, she never stopped trying. During the final two weeks of camp, she finally passed the test and was granted access into the deep end of the pool. I recall her being quite ecstatic, and she had every right to be. She had accomplished a profound milestone in her adolescent life and it was one to prize for years to come. Although she never directly cited any of us as the reasons why she passed the test, I knew in my heart that she knew we were her champions.        

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